Michele Bachmann’s now-defunct presidential campaign says she was the victim of a hoax email to South Carolina voters appearing to attack former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for a lack of “poise, experience and moral fiber.”
The email statement, which was carried today on GreenvilleOnline.com and later picked up by the Huffington Post, appeared to be an anti-endorsement ripping the thrice-married Gingrich on the eve of Saturday’s critical South Carolina primary.
The statement, coming as Rick Perry dropped out of the race, purports to be a message from the Minnesota Republican wrestling with an endorsement decision in the wake of her exit from the primary contest after the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3.
“Through this exhaustive process of consideration,” it says, “it was strikingly obvious that one candidate could not be less acceptable to be our Party's nominee. He lacks the poise, experience and moral fiber to represent our principles and values. That candidate is Newt Gingrich.”
With word spreading on the Internet, Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart issued the following statement, which came via an email account the campaign usually uses for press releases and was confirmed as authentic by the Star Tribune:
"The Bachmann for President campaign has not issued an official statement regarding an endorsement of any current candidate in the GOP race ahead of the South Carolina primary. Any information found to the contrary is inaccurate."
Asked if that meant the Bachmann, now back in Congress, was also disavowing the Gingrich attack, Stewart said “we’re not responsible for that email.”
GreenvilleOnline.com's Ben Szobody subsequently reports that Stewart’s new statement came from the same email address as the previous statement. But Stewart told GreenvilleOnline.com and the Star Tribune that the campaign didn’t issue it.
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